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With the Wine & Gold essentially settled on their starting five for the season opener in Memphis in less than two weeks, much of Friday’s preseason matchup with the Pacers allowed J.B. Bickerstaff to work out his rotation.
The game itself was a tight contest through the first two quarters – with Indiana holding the Cavaliers to just 16 points in the third period and holding off Cleveland’s reserves in the fourth for the 109-100 victory at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Other than Evan Mobley, Cleveland’s starters were mostly ineffective on Friday. The rookie continued his solid preseason – going 3-for-5 from the floor, adding four boards, a steal and a block. The Cavaliers other four starters were a combined 8-for-33 from the floor, with Collin Sexton as the only one to reach double-figures – finishing with 10 points on 4-for-15 shooting.
Cleveland’s bench was another story.
The Cavaliers again got a strong showing from Ricky Rubio, who came off the bench to lead Cleveland with 14 points, going 6-of-10 from the floor to go with three assists.
But as good as Rubio was, it was Dylan Windler who made the biggest splash – actually, four of them – on Friday night, drilling his first four three-pointers on the night, finishing 4-of-5 overall from deep for 12 points, adding four boards and a steal in the loss.
Lauri Markkanen rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 11 points, going 4-of-8 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from long-range –even playing some 3 when Coach Bickerstaff toyed with a big lineup that featured Evan Mobley in the middle and Kevin Love at the 4.
But even with the strong bench play from Rubio, Windler and Markkanen, it was reserve big man Tacko Fall who got the biggest crowd reaction of the night. Fans chanted for him throughout the fourth quarter and were delighted when he mashed home an alley-oop from Kevin Pangos midway through the final period.
Indiana’s Malcolm Brogdon led all scorers with 27 points, going 12-of-14 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Overall, the Pacers shot 51 percent from the floor, but the Cavaliers kept pace by drilling 14 triples on Friday. Turnovers again plagued the Wine & Gold, committing 20 miscues on the night.
These same two squads will wrap up the preseason with a meeting in Indianapolis next Friday night.
Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.
Ricky Rubio gets all the way to the baseline and goes up for a reverse lay-up that he hits while falling away and getting fouled.
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.